How is me relating my own lived experience of multiple rapes anything to do with you?
Caitlin Johnstone

Forgive me if someone else has responded to this but I am unable to see the responses to your question of how the comment about this being “mean” might be seen that way given that it comes from such a personal place.

I have enjoyed your writing (rarely actually log in to medium but am subscribed to you so I get your stories in my gmail). However, this poem is titled “men.” … Implying that it is a characterization or portrait of all men. In fact, the period after it and lack of capitalization both serve to imply that it is a characterization about all men (lower case indicating generalization) period (period indicating nothing more or less).

I am sorry for any tragedies you have suffered. Writing poetry or seeking other creative outlets to express that suffering is often helpful in mitigating the less-than-helpful outcomes of such suffering. I applaud you for that. However, take a moment to consider the reality that generalizations about any group that are borne out of a singular set of experiences (singular with respect to the experience-er as it were), are unfair to the majority of that group. It can be tempting to respond to that statement with “…but look at all of the rape happening to women committed by men…” but there again you must consider the prevalence. Would it be fair to judge all women to be gold diggers based on the unequal distribution of post-divorce assets (or more importantly the unfair assignment of custody)?

It is tempting to take a personal tragedy and use it as a focusing lens through which to view the world. I would urge you to take care with respect to that temptation.

Naturally this might all be considered a pointless discussion. It is your poem and they are your experiences. That someone might be concerned about how it portrays men in general edges on belittling the intent of the poem in the first place (an expression of your experiences). I would say to those offended: Hold your tongue and think critically for a moment. Do you not have sympathy to spare? Must you take offense in view of such hurt? Be the change you want to see. Offer your condolence.

I hope I was able to approximate an assessment of both views.

I am sorry for your experiences Caitlin.

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